Monday, 18 November 2013

Jure Grando, the 'first' vampire

I have previously written about current interest in the so-called first vampire, Jure (or: Giure) Grando, first mentioned by Johann Weichard von Valvasor in 1689. In the meantime, a local gymnasium has made an amateur video about Grando that is possibly worth watching, even if you can only understand a word here and there.

1 comment:

James Lyon said...

Two additional points of information.

First, there is actually an earlier documented case in Croatia, from 1403, when a woman named Priba from the village of Odhus on the island of Pašman near Zadar, was suspected of being a vampire. The villagers received permission from the Mayor of Zadar, Mayor of Zadar Pavao Pavlović, to exhume the corpse and drive a stake through her heart. They tried to do so with a Hawthorn stake, but couldn’t pierce the body, so they ended up beheading the corpse in July 1403. At the time, Zadar was a prominent walled port city under Venetian control. Sadly, the primary source for the Priba story may have been lost when Allied B-24 bombers carpet-bombed the old city of Zadar in 1944, destroying much of the city and its archive. The reference of which I am aware is to an article published by the famous Croatian historian Vjekoslav Klaić (1849 – 1928) that appeared on page 233 of "Zbornik za narodni život", knjiga I.

Second, neither the Jure Grando case nor the Priba case used the word “vampire” to describe the creature that was killed. Rather, they used local variatiants – “štrigun” in the case of Jure, and “vukodlak” in the case of Priba. Regardless of the local word in use at the time, both Jure and Priba exhibited classic Slavic vampire characteristics, i.e., both had died, and then subsequently arose from the dead to terrorize the local village. This form of terrorism included the usual poltergeist-like behavior that is associated with many Slavic vampires, but also lingering around the home of someone who would then die, usually by suffocation. “A rose by any other name…”

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